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EC Qualification

  • October 8, 2010
  • • 19:45
  • • Aviva Stadium, Dublin
  • Referee: K. Blom
  • • Attendance: 50411

Ireland 2-3 Russia: Visitors Survive Spirited Irish Fightback

Ireland 2-3 Russia: Visitors Survive Spirited Irish Fightback

Ireland failed to make up for a lacklustre first half as Russia held on for the win...

Ireland were humbled by a dominant Russia team for most of the game as goals from Aleksandr Kerzhakov, Roman Shirokov and a maiden international goal from Alan Dzagoev gave the away side a comfortable advantage before a Robbie Keane penalty and Shane Long made for a furious finish.

The home side had the early momentum, roared on by an expectant Aviva Stadium crowd and could have went ahead when a series of chances were created after an Aiden McGeady shot was parried by Igor Akinfeev into the path of Robbie Keane but his effort bounced off the bar. Glen Whelan's follow-up cross was too long for McGeady who went down looking for a penalty.

This early scare gave the Russians the wake up call they needed and moments later they went ahead thanks to Kerzhakov who blasted in from six yards. The goal followed a dubious free-kick, which was flighted over and spilled at the near post by Shay Given into the path of Sergei Ignashevich whose overhead kick cross found the unmarked Kerzhakov.

Russia were looking to attack at every opportunity, pressing high up the park and pushing both full-backs forward.

This constant pressure eventually caused the Irish to concede once more as Alexander Anyukov made a brilliant run from the right full back position, then playing a low cross into the path of Dzagoev who side footed home for his first international goal.

The away team were having much the better of the game, Kerzhakov in particular worked both channels well creating problems for the Irish defence.

But any hope of a comeback was extinguished just after the restart as Shirokov hit a speculative effort from 20 yards as the Ireland defence backed away and backed away, the shot took a wicked deflection off the leg of Richard Dunne to direct it past a helpless Shay Given.

Ireland were then given a lifeline with 20 minutes to go as Yuri Zhirkov tripped Keane in the penalty area, the Tottenham Hotspur forward stepped up and converted the spot kick himself to offer a glimmer of hope for to his team.

Self belief returned to the home side who push their opponents back and scored a second moments later when Shay Given lumped a long ball into the Russian penalty area, the ball was flicked on to McGeady whose shot was parried by Akinfeev only to fall perfectly for Long who fired into the net.

It wasn't enough though as Russia held on to take a vital victory and three priceless points.

Following the win, Russia have moved to second position in Group B just behind Slovakia, while Ireland have dropped to third position. Both teams are away in their next fixture on Tuesday with Russia taking on Macedonia and Ireland facing Slovakia.

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